You know NBA Jam. It's the classic in-your-face arcade basketball game. Now available on the iPhone, it's just as boomshakalakastic as I remembered. Backboard breaking dunks, fire burning threes, punk-your-man defence - ah, just the way basketball games should be.
What is it?
NBA Jam, $5.99, iPhone It's the same classic, on-fire NBA JAM from the arcades with updated rosters, better graphics and iconic caricatured flair. You know the game: 2 on 2 basketball, ridiculous dunks, getting on fire, BOOMSHAKALAKA. The spirit of the original is all here. If you don't know the game, I don't want to know you.
Who's it good for?
People who appreciate nostalgia; people who enjoy fun; people who like sports; people, pretty much.
Why's it better than alternatives?
First, there is no true alternative to the fabled franchise that is NBA Jam. Second, and more pointedly, sports games on iOS can rarely match the energy and feel of sports games on consoles. As decent as simulation NBA iOS games have been, they always lack the depth of their console counterparts and are trapped by the iPhone's physical limitations.
NBA Jam, on the other hand, isn't a game about precise controls and deep integration. The soul of the game is to have fun and to do it as ridiculously as possible. The iPhone version captures that perfectly. Put it this way, I spent $US50 to buy NBA Jam on the 360, I spent $US5 for iOS and I'm having just as much fun playing it on the iPhone. You will too.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that it's actually a fantastic game. The controls work out better than I expected (simple d pad and action buttons), the players faces are extremely accurate, the commentary is always hilarious and the overall gameplay was buttery smooth. Think about how excited your 1993 self would be over this.
How could it be even better?
There's no multiplayer mode! Multiplayer is the heart of the NBA Jam series, everybody remembers going 2v2 against your friends, talking smack, getting on fire, talking more smack, throwing down monster jams and then talking so much smack that you won't talk to your friend for the rest of the day. That was the essence of the game. To not have an online (or even local!) multiplayer is just sad and needs to be fixed immediately. An iPad version would be awesome too.
NBA Jam, iPhone [iTunes]
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